Bostonians remain polarized as Romney camp prepares for party

Daniel Moore

Just after 5 a.m., the Boston Convention Center is eerily quiet. 

Security guards roam, and city police officers trade jokes with United States Secret Service agents. Victory banners lie spread on floors that will host Mitt Romney’s party Tuesday evening. 

As the sky above the Boston Harbor brightens, Romney staffers file in ahead of any media to prepare for the day. 

“I think Romney’s gonna be a great president,” one staffer said to another in genuine conversation. “We need somebody who will run the country like a company … Reduce spending, reduce the deficit. We’re in a crisis, you know?”

“I feel like young people — our generation — don’t understand that,” replied the other, a young woman just out of school. 

As the country cast ballots to select its leader for the next four years, the city of Boston churned on, business-as-usual, just like any other day.  

Across from the convention center, the frame of a residential housing project towers above Larry Norton as he takes lunch — a bratwurst and a Coke — amid thrashing jackhammers. The construction worker, sporting a bulky Elizabeth Warren pin on his shoulder, describes himself as a “staunch Democrat.”

“I’m a working man, why wouldn’t I be?” Norton says matter-of-factly. “We’re all union [workers] here, man.”

But others within sight of the Romney election night headquarters seem less enthused. Some, expounding upon their distrust for both candidates, didn’t realize a man so close to the presidency would later be so close to them, watching the results roll in that night.

“When’s the traffic gonna be bad?” one worker asked. “That’s the only thing they’re good for: stopping traffic.” 

Mike, another worker who only wanted to give his first name, stepped away from installing a gas line and said, nowadays, elections are too driven by money. The average construction worker, he said, feels out of touch with the government.

“Congress doesn’t have real world people in there that address the real-world issues you and I deal with,” said the 31-year-old from Newton, Mass.

Julie Wormser, 45, of Cambridge, wears an “I voted” badge as she exits the Silver Line subway near Seaport Boulevard, on her way to work. 

“It looks like it’ll be a Warren-Obama day,” the environmental lawyer says confidently, referring to her vote for Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate in the Massachusetts race for U.S. Senate. She says it’s “discouraging” that there’s no middle ground between the two candidates.

Deep within the city’s Financial District, the rain fountain of One International Place splashes on the imported marble and granite floor of the indoor courtyard. 

There, Bill Curr eats lunch with his friends. An elevator installer from Boston, Curr jokes that he’s sitting at his own small table because he’s the only one in his group who avidly supports Romney. 

“He has something to go on, you know?” he says, referring to his efforts to reform education in the state and his management of the 2002 Winter Olympics. “He didn’t bow to anyone.”

In the Starbucks attached the court, Gary Haworth, a World War II veteran and Boston native since 1953, said he also would be voting for Romney later in the day. Haworth described the former governor of his state as well-qualified candidate who took criticism well during his term. 

“I like how he’s ambitious; it shows character,” he said. 

Ellis Washington, a native of Philadelphia who moved to Boston three years ago, sits nearby, toying with his iPad. The local pastor says he has already voted for Obama, largely due to the president’s handling of the auto bailout. 

“Although he receives a lot of criticism, without the auto industry intervention, [America] would not be where it is,” Washington said. “I hope the president continues to control the country … it will be a tight race.”  

Further downtown, William Crosby, a South Boston firefighter from West Roxbury, leans against the outside wall of the station in his Red Sox ball cap and yells over the screech of his walkie-talkie. He describes the election as “super close” and his vote for Obama is not without much deliberation.  

“It’s a tough decision, probably the hardest election I’ve every experienced,” Crosby says in a thick Bostonian accent. “[Obama] hasn’t done a great job either, with the way the economy is.”

Crosby calls the political infighting both inside and outside Washington “depressing.” 

“Everyone tells their own stories; it’s all half-truths,” he says. “The country’s so divided right now. No matter who wins, it’ll be bad. I just wish we could get everyone together.” 

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].